Why Hamas Is Directing Rioters to Sabotage Gaza’s Economic Lifeline

Over the past few days, rioters in Gaza have managed to destroy the pipelines that bring fuel into the territory, leaving residents unable to use their stoves or obtain gasoline for their vehicles. The rioters, apparently at the direction of Hamas officials, also attacked other infrastructure at the Kerem Shalom border crossing—the only link between Israel and Gaza—including conveyor belts for transporting raw materials. Having spoken with IDF officials responsible for monitoring the border crossing, Judah Ari Gross writes:

As part of an agreement late last year, Hamas handed over the keys to the Palestinian side of Kerem Shalom to the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas, [so that] the Palestinian Authority (PA) could collect taxes on the goods coming through the crossing. This was supposed to be the case for Egypt’s Rafah crossing as well, but Hamas recently seized back control of that passageway. (On Saturday, Egypt reopened Rafah Crossing as a temporary substitute for Kerem Shalom.)

With nothing coming through Kerem Shalom, that means no taxes are being collected by the Palestinian Authority. Meanwhile, “all the taxes from Rafah go to Hamas,” [one IDF] officer said. Unnamed Palestinian sources told the Ynet news site on Saturday that they’d come to a similar conclusion: that the terror group had the crossing destroyed so that its rival, the PA, wouldn’t be able to collect taxes and Hamas would.

But shutting down Kerem Shalom also serves another, perhaps more important goal for Hamas as it gears up for this week’s “March of Return” protests. While the Israeli military believes Hamas is encouraging and directing the riots, the engine that is keeping them going runs on the anger and frustration of the residents of the Gaza Strip, which will only be increased in light of Kerem Shalom’s closure. “They are playing with their people, putting pressure on their people and then ‘exporting’ that pressure toward Israel, the PA, and the international community,” the officer said.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority

Palestinian Acceptance of Israel as the Jewish State Must Be a Prerequisite to Further Negotiations

Oct. 19 2018

In 1993, in the early days of the Oslo peace process, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under Yasir Arafat accepted the “right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security.” But neither it nor its heir, the Palestinians Authority, has ever accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, or the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. Robert Barnidge explains why this distinction matters:

A Jewish state for the Jewish people, after all, was exactly what the [UN] General Assembly intended in November 1947 when it called for the partition of the Palestine Mandate into “the Arab state, the Jewish state, and the city of Jerusalem.”

Although the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state does not stand or fall on this resolution—in declaring the independence of Israel on the eve of the Sabbath on May 14, 1948, the Jewish People’s Council, [the precursor to the Israeli government], also stressed the Jewish people’s natural and historic rights—it reaffirms the legitimacy of Jewish national rights in (what was to become) the state of Israel.

The Palestinians have steadfastly refused to recognize Jewish self-determination. [Instead], the PLO [has been] playing a double game. . . . It is not simply that the PLO supported the General Assembly’s determination in 1975, rescinded in 1991, that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” It is that that the PLO leadership continues to speak of Jews as a religious community rather than a people, and of Zionism as a colonial usurper rather than the national liberation movement that it is.

The U.S. government, Barnidge concludes, “should demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace and security as a Jewish state” and refuse to “press Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians unless and until that happens.”

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Peace Process, PLO, US-Israel relations, Yasir Arafat